Amazon KDP Digs in Its Heels on Fraudulent DMCA

Updating with the latest. What I sent to KDP a few days ago:

Dear [Rep’s Name],

Thank you for prompt response, and for your assistance with this matter. I appreciate Amazon’s careful attention to copyright issues.

Please find attached a DMCA counter-notice.

The DMCA notice you received from Rajesh Lahoti was fraudulent. Shortly after Amazon blocked my book from sale, Rajesh Lahoti initiated contact with me through my website, using an alias. He offered to help me with my “DMCA problem.” I believe he is using the DMCA process as part of a scam.

I hope this matter can be resolved quickly. Please let me know if you have questions or need anything else from me. For instance, I have a signed hard copy of my counter-notice, which I would be happy to mail in.

Sincerely,
[My Name]

What I just got:

Hello,

I’m so sorry, but we can’t offer any additional insight or action on this matter. We are unable to provide you with legal advice. For any specific questions you have about your publishing rights, we recommend you consult an attorney or copyright law professional.

Until this dispute is resolved by all parties concerned, the titles will not be made available for sale in the Kindle Store.

Best Regards,

[Rep’s Name]
Amazon.com

So, there’s the answer to that question: Amazon does not consider itself legally bound by the DMCA counter-noticing provision. If it did consider itself thus bound, it would have to unblock Nolander within 14 days unless a suit were filed against me in my U.S. Federal Court district by Rajesh Lahoti. That’s my understanding of the law, anyway.

(Not sure what all this is about? You’ll find my original post about the situation here.)

Edited to add: Here’s some happy news! Amazon restored the book later this afternoon.

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Becca

I'm a scholar of Renaissance literature by training, a teacher of writing by trade, a reader by choice, and a science-fantasy writer out of pure love for all things speculative.

Categories Posts25 Comments

25 thoughts on “Amazon KDP Digs in Its Heels on Fraudulent DMCA”

  1. I am so sorry you are going through this. Have you considered contacting the Chief Executive of Amazon? I have, on occasions contacted the Chief Executives of companies when Customer Services have stated, categorically they can be of no further help. On quite a few occasions the matter has then been resolved. Obviously there is no guarantee that my suggestion would change Amazon to alter their position. However Customer Service reps are often (through no fault of their own) working from a script which, they feel unable to deviate from and it takes someone higher up the management chain to resolve matters. Perhaps a recorded delivery/registered post letter to the top person in Amazon attaching all relevant paperwork may, just possibly help. All the best. Kevin

      1. Kevin, great minds think alike! ;) What you’re suggesting is exactly what I did, and it worked extremely well.

        ETA: “Worked extremely well” = the book is available on Amazon again. Jeepers, how could I leave that out?

  2. When I had some books stolen, Amazon dragged its feet on removing one of them. I had to go to a copyright lawyer to get them to finally listen.

    I’m really sorry this is still happening. :(

    1. Oh my goodness, Ruth Ann … that sounds like a dreadful experience. :(

      And yet they were so quick to remove Nolander after receiving a DMCA. Was your experience recent?

      ETA: Forgot to mention that my situation seems to be resolved: Amazon put Nolander back up this afternoon, despite the form letter I got earlier.

        1. I wonder if experiences like yours made them realize they weren’t protecting copyrights adequately, so they tightened their response to DMCA notices, and now they’ve gone too far in the other direction. Hmm.

          1. It’s possible. I would have thought having a copyright registration would be enough to protect myself, but sadly, with your experience, it doesn’t seem to be the case. What would be nice is if before removing the book, the sites would give the person being accused of copyright infringement a chance to show their copyright registration number as proof, at least for US authors. Not sure what could be done outside the US.

            Of course, no system is perfect. I don’t know what the answer is.

            I’m glad you had the courage to let everyone know what was going on. You’ve given us all a good plan of action if it happens to us. I’m not sure I could have handled it as well as you did. You were surprisingly calm under pressure.

            I’m off to get your books. I hope you never have to deal with anything like this again.

            1. Thank you so, so much, Ruth Ann! That is was a lovely comment to read. :)

              Unfortunately, the DMCA does not allow the site/ISP to delay removing the content that’s being questioned. It is supposed to be removed right away. Proof of copyright registration makes no difference (though it would if a lawsuit resulted from counter-noticing). The counter-noticing process is where you’re then supposed to turn, if the original notice was fraudulent or wrong. But retailers don’t have to adhere to the counter-noticing provision … and therefore, the DMCA becomes a weapon you can’t defend yourself against in any way.

  3. Would it help if we wrote a supporting email on your behalf? As blog subscribers, as we can vouch for your novel belonging to you. I also second the suggestion to write to the CEO. Amazon are responsive to major issues when approached with detailed facts. I can’t imagine how stressful this must be for you, I hope right wins out x

    1. I’m happy to say it did win out, Yasmin! Amazon restored the book this afternoon. It took exactly what you’re suggesting: an email to the CEO. Thank you for your support … it’s such a help. :)

  4. It costs money to do business. Get a lawyer and have them contact Amazon and get the ball rolling. Good luck. At least you are getting some publicity for your work with this problem. I hope it gives you enough sales to compensate for what you are having to spend.

    1. Thank you, Ann! You’re absolutely right about being willing to spend money, and a lawyer would’ve been my next step, at least through the “send a letter” stage. (Actually suing Amazon is a daunting thought, to say the least.) Or maybe EFF would’ve helped me.

      Fortunately, once my problem reached people at Amazon who were empowered to look at it in an individual way, it was solved very quickly. Now the book is back up. It’s getting to those people that poses a challenge.

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